An innovative partnership project, involving Hampshire County Council, which promotes multi-agency working and active community involvement to tackle groundwater flooding, has been awarded a Government grant.

The project, covering the Bourne Valley, in Andover, is one of a handful of projects nationwide to become a Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Small Scheme Pathfinder and it has been awarded £77,500.

Commenting on the announcement Councillor Seán Woodward, Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, said: “This award is recognition of the proactive work which the County Council has undertaken with partners including the Environment Agency, Basingstoke and Deane and Test Valley Borough Councils, Southern Water and Parish councils to reduce the impact of groundwater flooding in the Bourne Valley. This work has included maintenance and capital works to improve the capacity of the existing drainage infrastructure, and supporting local flood action groups to make communities more resilient in the face of flooding and other civil emergencies.”

The funding will be used to develop a ‘package’ of realistic, low cost, flood mitigation measures to manage the risk of flooding from all sources, that will engage the local community in practical activities, inform the wider partnership’s programme of actions, and identify schemes that might attract national funding.

Cllr Woodward added: “The grant and inclusion on the Defra Small Schemes Pathfinder will enable us to build on this work, working collaboratively with the Environment Agency to improve our chances of securing future funding which may become available for projects under the national Flood Defence Grant in Aid scheme.”

The pathfinder scheme will include working with the local communities to create a wider understanding of responsibilities regarding ditch and riparian watercourse maintenance as well as the impact land management can have on flood risk. It is anticipated the pathfinder will contribute to improved flood resilience in the Bourne Valley, providing locally sustainable solutions and that the approach can serve as a template to be replicated in other priority areas in the County when the need arises, or by authorities in other groundwater affected parts of the country.

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